Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Role of Literature in Changing the World

Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Contemporary Caution

A decade before the outbreak of the Civil War, a diminutive, middle-aged New England woman named Harriet Beecher Stowe began publishing serial installments of a book—Uncle Tom’s Cabin—that would change the United States and the rest of the world forever. This woman, of whom Abraham Lincoln apocryphally referred to as, “that little lady who started [the Civil] War,” may have been slight of stature, but she possessed a courageous heart and a formidable pen.

Albeit a work of fiction, her expository novel courageously unveiled the truth about the horrors of Southern slavery. Bereft of formidable financial resources or palpable political power, this ordinary citizen with extraordinary talents and vision galvanized a growing anti-slavery sentiment that further fomented the cultural embers of her time, which eventually burst into the flame that ignited Southern artillery against the Union on April 12, 1861, marking the beginning of the American Civil War.

Four years later—almost to the day—the guns fell silent at Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia. At a cost of 600,000 soldiers, the Union had won the costliest war in American history. Defeated, the South was forever stripped of the pernicious practice Stowe had so deftly damned in her stirring tale. Time had run out for Simon Legree and his foul pedigree; the scales of justice had finally tipped in favor of existential equality and liberty. Stowe’s literary masterpiece, backed by the hard power of Union military might and the political courage of President Abraham Lincoln had stamped out the darkest sin of our young Republic.

Stowe in her later years
A thoroughly authentic woman with a single-minded purpose, Stowe wrote:

“I wrote what I did because … I was oppressed and broken-hearted with the sorrows and injustice I saw, because as a Christian I felt the dishonor to Christianity – because as a lover of my country, I trembled at the coming day of wrath.” [1]

Pulitzer Prize winning author, Jane Smiley, has framed Stowe’s legendary literary contribution as a tool for “effect[ing] positive change.”

“Literature should help us face responsibilities not avoid them." Stowe’s words changed the world: her bravery as she picked up her pen inspires us to believe in our own ability to effect positive change.” [2]

Dr. Jordan R. Jensen – author, speaker, poet, philosopher, and historian, has followed in the footsteps of Stowe with the publication of a groundbreaking new book that aims to join other literary works in a historical canon that has sought throughout our nearly 230-year history to “effect positive change.” And like Stowe’s work, Jensen also aims to eradicate slavery—not the external variety that Stowe decried, which thankfully was stamped out a century-and-a-half ago, but the internal slavery of selfishness, addiction, sophistry, narcissism, hedonism, irresponsibility, and subterfuge to which each and every one of us is prone, and which is the sole cause of America's educational, cultural, social, and political decline.

Entitled Self-Action Leadership: The Key to Personal & Professional Freedom, Jensen’s book may yet prove as catalytic and transformational to the 2020s as Uncle Tom’s Cabin was to the 1860s. And once again, the subject matter is slavery—albeit of a markedly different kind than that which Stowe tackled over eight score years ago.

The internal “slaves” that Jensen’s book aims to “free” can be found among both sexes—and all races, religions, cultures, political ideologies, and backgrounds. And who is the slave master – the Simon Legree of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century? The answer is POSTMODERN philosophy. Postmodernism—in all of its pernicious puppetry, detouring deconstruction, and sophisticated subterfuge—as well as the irresponsibility, narcissism, unprincipled chaos, cultural enfeeblement, and moral entropy it has bastardly begotten in the years following World War II lies at the very heart of the seemingly intransigent political, cultural, and moral morass in which America presently finds herself so profoundly mired. It is time to make war on the "Simon Legree" inside the hearts of all of us—including YOU and ME.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin preceded and precipitated the Civil War; what conflagration might Self-Action Leadership predate? We don’t know for sure, although historians and generational experts, William Strauss and Neil Howe, cite the cycles of history to suggest that a national or worldwide crisis on par with the Civil War or the two World Wars looms increasingly large on the near horizon.

The “Crisis of 2020,” as these eminent scholars have dubbed it, will demand that contemporary Americans sacrifice in ways they have not yet been asked to do in their lifetimes. It is predicted that this impending crisis “will be a major turning point in American history and an adrenaline-filled moment of trial. At its climax, Americans will feel that the fate of posterity—for generations to come—hangs in the balance.” [3]

This crisis will be a pivotal moment in the lifecycles of all generations alive at the time. The sense of community will be omnipresent. Moral order will be unquestioned with “rights” and “wrongs” crisply defined and obeyed. Sacrifices will be asked, and given. America will be implacably resolved to do what needs doing, and fix what needs fixing. [4]

If such a crisis is indeed coming, and if Americans are to successfully navigate the conflict – as Strauss and Howe so optimistically suggest we will – a period of preparation must begin whereby the minds of all lovers of liberty and freedom may be readied and primed for the unprecedented challenges of the ensuing conflict. As part of this preparation, it is time for all Americans to unite in a collective rejection of postmodernism by embracing a whole new era and age – even an AGE of AUTHENTICISM – that is rooted in principle-centered conduct and a renewed acceptance of real rights and real wrongs—not denominational, partisan, or ideologically crafted rights and wrongs, but a primal, self-evident right and wrong rooted in natural law—to which all human beings must ultimately make obeisance.

Dr. Jensen’s Self-Action Leadership provides a comprehensive field book whereby citizen soldiers (and real soldiers) can begin (or continue) the vital preparatory work that all of us must undertake in preparation to purify ourselves through the light of CONSCIENCE in order to defend our liberties, extend our freedoms, maintain our values, uphold our leadership, and win the coming conflict. It also provides a step-by-step process by which individuals throughout the United States and World can doff the fickle facades of postmodernism and don the awe-inspiring apparel of AUTHENTICITY.

If you would like to review a FREE electronic (PDF) desk copy of Dr. Jensen’s groundbreaking new book, Self-Action Leadership – the Uncle Tom’s Cabin of the twenty-first century – please send an e-mail with the word “YES” to: jordan.jensen@freedomfocused.com and we will e-mail you a DropBox link to download the manuscript prior to its hardcopy publication date later this summer.

Dr. Jordan R. Jensen

Praise for Dr. Jordan Jensen & Self-Action Leadership

"In Self Action Leadership, Jordan Jensen has assembled a leadership masterpiece anchored steadfastly in true principles of philosophy and human behavior. In wonderfully written prose, Jordan reminds us of who we are and what it takes to live and lead with honor. Moreover, he challenges us to live up to the high calling of being human beings with a special mission on this Earth. To accomplish our mission, we must do two major things: grow in our sense of personal responsibility, and in turn, care for others and help them to do the same. I grappled with these two areas in a primal way during more than five years as a POW in Vietnam. Now I’m thrilled to see how Jordan has laid out SAL by using the vehicle of story to illuminate his own, unique journey of transcending adversity. In so doing, he has inspired us all to become who we are capable of becoming. Bravo!”

Colonel Lee Ellis
U.S. Air Force Retired. Vietnam POW survivor (Hanoi Hilton). President & Founder of Leadership Freedom® LLC and FreedomStar Media.™ Author of Leading With Honor: Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton

“Reading this book may be the most worthwhile thing you do this year. Its presence in the literature is a service to our Country.”

David G.Anthony, Ed.D
Former Superintendent of the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District and CEO of Raise Your Hand Texas

“There is no more important contributor to your own effectiveness than how you lead yourself. If you want to learn a great deal about the latest thinking on self-leadership, read this book.”

Charles C. Manz, Ph.D.
Nirenberg Professor of Leadership, The University of Massachusetts, and the Father of self-leadership in the Academe

“Jordan Jensen has written a thorough, intense, and illuminating autobiographical volume about how to lead self.”

James G.S. Clawson, Ph.D.
The Darden Graduate School, University of Virginia, and author of Level 3 Leadership: Getting Below the Surface

"A deeply personal and richly emotive narrative, Self-Action Leadership takes the reader on a journey of self-discovery, providing one of the most detailed and applied treatments of self-leadership concepts currently available."

Jeffery D. Houghton, Ph.D.
West Virginia University, Associate Professor of Management, and leading self-leadership scholar

“Jensen’s message is germane to civic leaders, business professionals and workers of all kinds, educators, students, parents, and children—in short, to EVERYONE.”

Christopher P. Neck, Ph.D.
University Master Teacher, Arizona State University

“Anyone who seeks greater insight into their inner struggles, and desires the tools to overcome those struggles—to master self—will find this book a must read!"

Bruce H. Jackson, Ed.M., MBA, MA, Ph.D., MPA
Founder and CEO of The Institute of Applied Human Excellence, and author of Finding Your Flow: How to Identify Your Flow Assets and Liabilities—The Keys to Peak Performance Every Day

About Dr. Jordan Jensen

As a public speaker and professional soft-skills trainer, Dr. Jordan Jensen has addressed over 20,000 people (over 600 audiences) in 44 States, 9 Counties of Great Britain, 5 Provinces of Canada, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He has authored four books and hundreds of articles in newspapers and other periodicals. He has a Bachelor’s degree in English from Utah Valley University and a Doctoral degree in Education from Fielding Graduate University. A former collegiate All-American middle distance runner, Jensen has completed 13 marathons. He lives with his wife and two children in Conroe (Houston) Texas.


University Master Teacher, Arizona State University

David McCullough – that famous historian and author of our time – once remarked: “The only way to teach history, to write history, to bring people into the magic of transforming yourself into other times, is through the vehicle of the story. It isn't just a chronology. It’s about people. History is human.”

With these words in mind, Jordan Jensen’s comprehensive work on self-leadership, built on the foundation of his own, unique self-leadership history, is truly an exceptional work for two distinct reasons.

First, Self-Action Leadership applies the method of teaching outlined by McCullough. There are many good definitions and explanations of self-leadership out there, but Jordan’s work stands apart because he teaches us the concept through the vehicle of storytelling. And the wonderment of the story is that it is his own. In the pages that follow, Jensen articulately chronicles his own self-leadership successes. In doing so, he does not withhold the painful details surrounding his countless struggles and failures preceding those successes. With unusual honesty and courageous self-disclosure, he opens our eyes to our own imperfect, yet determined, humanity by providing a fascinating look into his own. In the process, he inspires us to transcend whatever adversity comes our way to eventually realize the full extent of our own life’s potential. But he does not stop at sharing his story. He goes on to utilize his narrative as a foundation for expanding self-leadership theory by introducing his own, original theory and model—the Self-Action Leadership Theory & Model.

Second, Jensen has accomplished a task that is very difficult for any author to achieve, and that is to produce a single text that is highly relevant to multiple audiences at the same time. Because of the universal applicability of basic self-leadership principles, his message is germane not only to persons struggling with OCD, depression, or other forms of mental illness, but to civic leaders, business professionals and workers of all kinds, educators, students, parents, and children—in short, to everyone. Indeed, I do believe that virtually anyone who reads this book will be able to take something away from it that will improve his or her life in a significant way. As an author myself, I am amazed at Jordan’s achievement in writing one book that carries the potential to reach such a wide variety of people—and that is the beauty of it.

This book will do much more than just teach you about Self-Action Leadership. It will cause you to think deeply about how you are currently leading your own life, and how you could lead it more effectively. More importantly, Jensen’s compelling story and courageous personal example, combined with his percipient ability to effectively teach the corresponding self-leadership principles, will inspire and motivate you to actually do something about what you will learn. In the process, it might even touch emotions in your heart that will move you to joy and tears. It takes a talented writer to do all of these things so I know you’ll enjoy reading this book. More importantly, I know you’ll come away a wiser person with an increased motivation to get moving to realize your own Self-Action Leadership potential, an opportunity we can all take full advantage of, if only we will.

Dr. David G. Anthony; CEO, Raise Your Hand Texas


When Jordan originally invited me to review an 802-page manuscript of this book, I balked a bit, wondering when I would possibly have time to review such a tome. It is interesting to note how some of life’s most important, rewarding, and ultimately enjoyable tasks initially appear so uninviting. In the end, I opted to set myself to the task, and I am so glad that I did.

As I poured through the pages, my mind soon became flooded with memories, thoughts and experiences from my four-plus decade career as a teacher, principal, superintendent, and now CEO. From then on, there was no way to put the work aside. As I reflected further on Jordan’s “Pedagogy of Personal Leadership,” I found myself wishing I had enjoyed access to the book when I was a 21-year-old teacher working with high school seniors, and when I was a 25-year-old principal working with teachers and students.

As I continued to read, cliché’s like, “Leaders are born, not made” were removed from my gray matter and discarded. Instead, I thought of Shakespeare: “To thine own self be true,” and “Discretion is the greater part of valor.” Shakespeare got it. Furthermore, my mother’s admonition of, “How do you ever expect to be loved by others if you don’t love yourself,” could just have easily been, “How can you expect to lead others, if you can’t even lead yourself?” In short, Jordan has eloquently articulated the need for, and importance of, leadership, character, and life-skill education in American businesses, schools, and homes. More importantly, he has outlined an explicit theory, model, and pedagogy to provide leaders, educators, parents, and individuals with a tangible toolbox and roadmap for immediate application.

As I delved deeper into Jordan’s book, the passages called up a memory of an interview where I was asked, “What are the most important things you hope your students learn?” I was principal of a school at the time, and I said, “My hope is that all of our students are highly literate and numerate and understand the importance of self discipline, responsibilities, and consequences. Then, no matter what goals they set, they will have the recipe for success.” I was under thirty years of age and my comments were crude compared to Jordan Jensen’s polished presentation, but not considerably off target.

If Jordan’s career had preceded mine and I could have used his book as a teacher, principal and superintendent, I would have positively impacted more students and teachers during my 37-year career by providing them with a key to potential success and significance. It is highly encouraging to see that this book has now been written for a new generation of leaders, educators, professionals, and students to use as a guide to their personal development. It is even more encouraging to know that its author exemplifies the principles he promotes.

I thank Jordan for inviting me to read this work. He has earned my endorsement. Reading this book may be the most rewarding thing you do this year. I hope the message of Self-Action Leadership makes its way into the minds and hearts of students, parents, and business professionals everywhere. Its presence in the literature is a service to our country.

In Preparation to Celebrate this year's Independence Day, learn about THE PATRIOTISM PRINCIPLE

PLAY clip to hear Dr. Jordan Jensen speak about restoring American Patriotism & Greatness


[1] See URL: https://www.harrietbeecherstowecenter.org/hbs/
[2] See URL: http://66753557.weebly.com/conclusion.html
[3] Strauss W. & Howe, N. (1991). Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584-2069. New York, NY: Quill                 (William Morrow). Page 382.
[4] Ibid.

No comments:

Post a Comment

CONSTITUTION Article VII: Core Paradigms

A PARADIGM is a belief or way of looking at something This week's post continues the publication of the Freedom Focused Corporate Consti...